Debate rages over hip hop's correlation with crime

Police presence is heavy outside of the club where Plies performed in Fort Myers. This is the first concert Plies has performed in his hometown since city officials unsuccessfully tried to ban hip hop shows from the area after a bouncer was stabbed following a Plies concert in 2009.

Police presence is heavy outside of the club where Plies performed in Fort Myers. This is the first concert Plies has performed in his hometown since city officials unsuccessfully tried to ban hip hop shows from the area after a bouncer was stabbed following a Plies concert in 2009.

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Hip hop in the 239

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A bouncer was stabbed twice as he ushered fans out of a Plies concert in 2009 in Fort Myers. As a result, some city officials unsuccessfully attempted to ban hip hop concerts from the Harborside Events Center and other Fort Myers venues, saying hip hop music creates and promotes violence.

Mayor Randy Henderson said he was offended by rap lyrics and "supports limiting hip hop music and concerts."

Former Councilman Warren Wright, who is currently running for the District 2 seat on Lee County Commission, spearheaded the effort and told WINK News at that time, "it brings in a rough element."

While the bouncer's injuries weren't life-threatening, it raises the question: Is hip hop culture responsible for the violence?

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said there is a correlation between the lyrics in gangsta rap and violence in the community.

"If a person doesn't think a song influences a person, then think of how you learned your ABCs," Scott said. "The lyrics are pounded in. Some are extremely violent and glamorize a gangster lifestyle."

More specifically, he addresses Lake Boyz, a young group of Fort Myers rappers who are under investigation by the Lee County Sheriff's Office for violent undertones in their lyrics and videos posted on YouTube.

"This type of hip hop is the problem," he said of the Harlem Lake neighborhood rappers. "They're promoting thug mentality. I don't condone or support any of it."

But to Fort Myers rapper Frank Lini, who has a criminal past and grew up in the Michigan projects, not rapping about the violence, or the murders, or the crime, would be dishonest to the music's roots.

"I talk about violence in my music as truth," Frank Lini, 29, said. "I can't leave it out. You have to talk about it so people understand. It's letting people know it's going on and about what we have to do to change that."

Three years later, Henderson and Wright refused to comment on the incident or the critiques of hip hop music.

Successful Florida rappers, such as Plies, are criticized for abandoning the hood that made them.

"The way to make it better is it's gotta start with the bigger rappers that have made it out of Florida," Frank Lini said. "It's gotta start with Plies, Rick Ross, Trick Daddy and the Trinas."

Up and coming rapper Fyoucha said he intends to use his new record label and inevitable fame to teach help change communities.

"I'm trying to show kids if they do choose to do music they don't have to just speak about violence, drugs. They can actually expand their horizons and make real music," said Fyoucha, who is originally from Chicago and aspires to make a difference there.

Fyoucha is also coaching his business partner, Gutta Slim, to give back.

"By Gutta being from here, I told him its his job to make sure he don't forget where he came from," Fyoucha said, "because once he make a name for his self, he can make a difference here."

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